Author(s): Jiangyu Dai, Shiqiang Wu, Guoyi Han, Josh Weinberg, Xinghua Xie, Xiufeng Wu, Xingqiang Song, Benyou Jia, Wanyun Xue, Qianqian Yang

Year: 2018

In: Applied Energy

DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2017.08.243

Type: Journal article

Language:
English

Centre:
Stockholm

Link to SEI author:

Water-Energy Nexus: A Review of Methods and Tools for Macro Assessment

irrigation texas nexusIrrigation in Texas. An example of where water and energy demands intersect. Photo: Texas A&M AgriLife Research/Kay Ledbetter. Via Flickr

Over the past decade, analyzing issues within the ‘water-energy nexus’ has become a topic of increasing attention for the scientific and policy communities.

Based on an extensive survey of recent scientific literature on the water-energy nexus, the authors identify 70 studies and selected 35 as comprehensive case studies for review. These were classified and assessed according to groupings based on both geographic scale and their "nexus scope".

As well as providing a summary of existing methods and tools for analysis of the nexus, the paper discusses these approaches based on their main purposes. From this review, it is clear that the research on water-energy nexus has significantly increased in both the number of studies and the capacity of the scientific community to productively assess water and energy links at a higher resolution. At the same time, the review concludes that while many studies aim to develop new methods and frameworks to comprehensively assess interactions between water, energy and other elements, none can or do provide a singular framework for performing a “nexus study”.

Furthermore, many researchers are at the “understanding” stage, and emphasize quantitative analysis of the nexus. Fewer approaches are designed to support governance and implementation of technical solutions. This is considered to be a priority challenge for the scientific community if it aims to achieve greater impact on resource policy and management.

There is a clear need to improve our ability to classify and compare the capacities, strengths and weaknesses between existing approaches. This would better enable a wider group of stakeholders to use knowledge to more effectively manageme water and energy resources. It could also help focus the scientific community on improving the existing knowledge base and to increase focus on “governing” and “implementing” the nexus.

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